Bridgeport, Conn. – Kid got game.
Andy Miele, in first professional game, scored a goal and an assist to give the Portland Pirates a 4-2 win over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers in front of 7, 343 at Webster Bank Arena at Harbor Yard on Saturday night.
But, the story of the night was Mathieu Beaudoin scoring two goals including the game-winner early into the second period.
With David Ullstrom in the box for slashing, Beaudoin took a cross-ice feed from defenseman Nathan Oystrick, snapping a shot by Sound Tigers netminder Kevin Poulin to give the Pirates two-goal lead, 3-1, just 5:35 into the period.
“I was just holding my ice and it hit the post and the back of the goalie and went back in,” said Pirates forward Mathieu Beaudoin. “There was some luck there, but we’ll take it.”
“It was good to get the win. It wasn’t our prettiest win. We certainly have some stuff to work on, but it was good to the win.”Just three minutes earlier, with the score tied at 1-1 the Pirates took the lead for the second time in the contest when Miele found the back of the net for his first career AHL goal. He took a pass from defenseman Garrett Stafford from below the right circle, skating to the top of the blueline and snapping a shot that caught Poulin off guard.
“The first five minutes of the game we were fine, but give them credit,” said Edwards. “They skate and move the puck well. I think we fed into their transition by not managing the puck very well. We had to try and catch our breath and get some momentum back.”The Pirates opened the scoring in the game at the 3:03 mark of the first period as Brett Hextall, parked on the right side of the crease, grabbed the loose puck on the initial shot from Miele and poked it past Poulin for the 1-0 lead.
Bridgeport responded less than two minutes later when Tomas Marcinko took a feed from behind the net by Trevor Frischmon, shooting the puck in the slot over the left shoulder of Pirates goaltender Curtis McElhinney.
McElhinney made 37 saves and kept the Pirates in the game when they lost their way during the first period and times during the third period when the Sound Tigers pressed.
At times, Portland appeared to be skating with cement skates, which Edwards agreed, point to having McElhinney in net to allowed the Pirates to find their way.
“I thought (McElhinney) was really good tonight,” said Edwards. “He gave us a chance to win. It’s relaxes the group. They know that if they make a mistake they’ve got a guy that will back them up. I thought he was the difference in the game tonight.”
The Pirates missed an opportunity to make it 4-2 early in the third period when Marc-Anthoine Pouliot was awarded a penalty shot, but failed to convert, shooting the puck over the crossbar.
With 6:38 to play in the period, Beaudoin capped off the scoring with his second of the night when he capitalized on a turnover by the Sound Tigers, flipping a backhander past Poulin.
“Having the two-goal lead was huge,” Edwards quipped. “Pouliot misses the (penalty shot) and we were able to get the next so that was the game changer right there. That gave us a breath of air.”
Bridgeport went 0-for-6 on the night with the man advantage, while Portland scored once in their three opportunities on the power play.
The Pirates open their home schedule on Saturday when the Manchester Monarchs come to town. Game time is 7:00 PM.
NOTES: Dean Arsene has been named the 14th captain in Pirates franchise history. This is the fourth team – Hershey, Springfield, Peoria and Portland – that Arsene has been named captain, which ties an AHL record. Mathieu Beaudoin and Ryan Hollweg have been named the assistant captains for this season… Igor Gongalsky, Mathieu Brodeur and Nick Ross were healthy scratches. Jordan Szwarz is recovering from back spasms and listed day-to-day. Alex Bolduc is out until Jan. after having shoulder surgery in September.